I have been thinking about my goals and priorities as a designer and I have decided three things are important to me.
I want to take something and make it better than it had been before.
I continually study design so the thing I make now can be better than the thing I made before.
I believe design is a way to improve the quality of life for everyone, everywhere. I want to raise expectations for designed things and designers alike, both in and outside the profession.
These things are complementary, but I don’t feel they are well-supported by organizations, companies or even other designers.
Professional organizations and degree programs either take a narrow view of design or have no focus at all.
Corporations do not train designers through apprenticeships as the skilled trades do.
Designers don’t often discuss the decisions they made in their work. Many designers never learned how to deliver or receive a critique, or how to research or discuss design.
I think it is important we discuss our work, study others’ work and publish our results. I think we need mutual support to do so.
I imagine there are other designers who find these same three things important, too. So, I have also been thinking about an organization for designers. This organization would have new priorities. It would stand for and actively support these three things which are important to us.
The organization would support motivated designers who want to improve objects by providing its collective experience to their tasks.
Member designers in need of a critique would be matched with others who would provide timely and relevant feedback.
The organization would support motivated designers who want to improve their skills by providing a platform for self-improvement.
Member designers would be matched with others who would encourage and review their progress in improving their existing skills or learning new ones.
The organization would support motivated designers who want to improve the practice and application of design by raising expectations for its members and by fostering a culture of publication to benefit all.
Member designers would be provided with modern infrastructure, necessary for efficient participation.
I believe by raising expectations for and of its member designers, an organization that supports these goals can dramatically improve how we discuss design, how we study design and the entire practice of design.
Member designers would be expected to both request and provide design reviews on a regular basis. All critiques would be available for review, commentary and citation by all members.
This would form the foundation for the organization’s collective understanding of design patterns and best practices.
Member designers would be expected to avail themselves of new aspects of design and improve old ones on a regular basis. Their progress and findings would be documented to assist other members who follow the same path.
This would form the foundation for the organization’s standards for skill sets and levels of knowledge.
Member designers would be expected to regularly publish original works, whether research, critiques or analyses of previous material, and to meet defined standards of rigour.
This, along with curated and regularly published collections of organization material, would be made freely available to the general public to advance the practice of design for the benefit of all.
Perhaps you are a motivated designer and share a belief in betterment through discussing your own work, studying others’ work and publishing our results.